24.05.2019

“She’s so ‘60s”: Laurel left her Melbourne crowd in a complete trance

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The British songwriter had The Corner holding onto her every word.

Words by Priya Francis
Photography by Sally Townsend

With Laurel’s 2018 debut album DOGVIOLET providing the soundtrack for the day leading up to the concert, it was refreshing to get to The Corner and hear the rings of her soundcheck ringing through the place.

As the door time drew nearer and nearer, the crowd continued to trickle in from the street, making for a decent sized audience for Sydney sisters, CLEWS to open up the night. Sounding like they were pulled directly from the soundtrack of an indie teen film, their harmonies were punchy and the unified dance moves sprinkled throughout the set made for a great opening act.

Their songs proved popular with audiences, despite having only three releases officially out. Unreleased track ‘Cut My Teeth’ gave them the opportunity to let their harmonies ring throughout the entire bandroom with impressive precision, and their cheeky banter between songs only drew more and more people further to the front as they progressed.

The band were the epitome of ‘cool girl’, pairing their blue and pink Fender’s with glasses of red wine in between songs.

When the sound of Laurel’s voice and the tell-tale guitar intro of her song ‘Lovesick’ rang out from behind the curtain, the significantly larger crowd lost it. The drapes were then pulled back to reveal the 24-year-old London based singer in all her glittery glory.

“She’s so ‘60s, Jesus Christ I love it!” A fair observation was uttered from the crowd.

She continued on with her set, moving onto album favourites like ‘Crave’, stopping in between only to giggle and express her gratitude. Her light, delicate speaking voice contrasted starkly to her strong singing voice – something noted by a girl next to me who’s red wine I spent a fair amount of the night dodging.

Songs like ‘Hold Tight’ and ‘South Coast’ were a great display of the evident connection between Laurel and her band. Much like her opening act CLEWS, all of Laurel’s songs were the perfect concoction of nostalgic storytelling that invited the audience inside her conscience. ‘Life Worth Living’, the first song from DOGVIOLET, got the respectful crowd singing along, and the chorus gave Laurel the opportunity to really put her powerful Florence and The Machine-esque vocals on display.

Her book, The Mutterings of a Laurel, a collection of journal entries penned during the creation of the album, was available for sale at the back of the room, and she took a moment to reference the title, sharing the next song was written about a particular person in her life, who had since then recently passed away. The emotionally charged ‘Sun King’ began hesitantly, not without support from the audience, but after several false starts she apologised for not being able to sing the song and moved on.

The crowd only cheered her on and welcomed back the band to continue the set.

As the set went on it became more and more evident that there was a pleasing absence – The lack of camera phones providing for a very much unadulterated, organic experience. Her announcement that it was the ‘last song’ came with groans and laughs from the audience, but she just chuckled and confirmed the encore was coming. It arrived in the form of ‘Same Mistakes’ – the intense build-up of DOGVIOLET‘s third song had the audience ready to go by the chorus. By this stage, the crowd was fully immersed in the show – the final moments a celebration of a stunning performance and a stunning performer well and truly on the rise.

Highlight: Finally getting to hear ‘Adored’ live.

Lowlight: Having my right eardrum blown out by the girl next to me continually talking throughout the set.

Crowd favourite: There was no competition for ‘Same Mistakes’ and Laurel knew it.